I found out about Gangbusters B/X version on the DriveThruRPG’s website and a Gangbusters RPG fan group on FaceBook. This genre has intrigued me ever since the original Gangbusters game had been released by TSR back in the 80’s. This new version uses a variant of the Dungeons and Dragons B/X edition so it is a D20 system. An interesting note about the photo above. Since I had purchased the PDF version of this book I planned to print out the cover just like I did with my FrontierSpace entry into the Character Creation Challenge. However my printer ran out of ink while I was printing the cover (It looked like a bad abstract painting). So I placed the book on a tablet for use in the photo.
The rules don’t state any specific method for rolling attribute scores other than rolling 3d6. So I’m going to stick with the basics and roll them in order. This resulted in the following statistics. STR: 14, INT: 10, WIS: 11, DEX: 15, CON: 9, CHA: 13. While the character had a higher DEX, I decided that my character would be in the Connected class with a primary attribute of CHA. The RAW allows me to reduce STR, INT or WIS to increase the primary attribute. I took 4 from STR and 2 from WIS (making them 10 and 9) to add 3 points to CHA.
A Connected Class is someone that has friends and associates in the right places. I selected this class as my character is going to be a private investigator tasked with helping his paying clients get their issues resolved. I wrote down the special skills (Who’s Who-Police, You Owe Me) and rolled the hit points. Yikes, it was a 2. He better be careful while at the 1st level. I wanted my character to be one of the good guys so I selected an alignment of Law Abiding. I’ve also written down the different Savings Throws (Moxie: 16, Quickness: 16, Toughness: 17, Driving: 17, Observation: 16)
I rolled the starting cash of $100 to equip the character. There wasn’t any place on the character sheet to write down the equipment, so I wrote it on the back and I considered the character done. I was now ready to introduce James (Jimmy) Dutton, Private Eye to the 1920’s world of gangsters and lawmen. His grandfather was a police officer and his father was a veteran of the great war. He grew up in Rock Junction and originally wanted to be a police officer, but couldn’t meet the physical requirements. So he trained to be a private investigator. Here is the character sheet.
I wanted to create this character because this is a game that I could see myself playing. I noticed that the character sheet needs some changes. No place for experience points, no place for Type, Equipment, Weapons, etc. The game book also had a few minor mistakes (a box of ammo was listed with 20 bullets in one section, 30 in another) but that’s to be expected from a fan-created love letter to an older game. When I open up most RPG books, I wonder if I could write up homebrew items for the system. I was feeling it here with this game.
I found another link from a Tumblr blog that is participating in the Character Creation Challenge and added it to the site. If I am missing any, please email me at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com.
Coming Up Next:
I dip my toe into Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.
If FrontierSpace gives you the same vibes as Star Frontiers, that’s because the designer was a big fan of the Star Frontiers game. However this is not a retro-clone. Far from it actually. It has it’s own universe and a very interesting D100 based system that has intrigued me. Your character has a set of abilities and skills and the referee determines what combination of the two you need to combine to come up with your target score to roll under to succeed. This was the first time I had seen this style (I saw this game just before Star Trek Adventures was released) and it made sense. Not only did I have to buy the PDFs from DriveThruRPG from DwD Studios, but I’ve been buying the community created content that DwD allows in the game license. I could very easily see myself creating material for this game.
As mentioned above, the abilities that a character possesses is Strength (STR), Agility (AGL), Coordination (CRD), Perception (PER), Intelligence (INT) and Willpower (WIL). You rolled two d10s and added the two together and consulted a table to come up with the score. Instead of taking the rolls in order, you found out the scores and then elected which ability to put them into. The race you select for your character may add or subtract from these scores. I decided that Gax, a member of the Novim race, would have the following ability scores (these have been adjusted for the racial modifiers). STR: 65, AGL: 65, CRD: 60, PER: 55, INT: 50, WIL: 45.
Next the skills may seem a little weird. A score of zero means that you are trained in that skill and your character has overcome any of the negative modifiers from not being proficient in that skill. A -5 or -10 score means that you know something about that particular skill. If you get into the positive modifiers, you are an expert in that skill. Any untrained skills are basically -20. The RAW instructed me to select one skill that is of primary importance to what I wanted my character to be. That would have a score of zero. Two other skills can be selected to have a -10 modifier. Everything else would be unskilled. The skills are Academic, Artist, Commander, Diplomat, Explorer, Marksman, Medic, Pilot, Scientist, Technician, Thief and Warrior. I decided that Gax would be a good at flying ships, I put his Pilot score at 0. Being a member of a mercenary group he should also be good at Marksman and Warrior which I marked down at -10 each. Thus if the Referee stated that I needed to make a check for flying through an asteroid field, I he could tell me to make a roll for my AGL+Pilot (65+0) for my target number of 65. If I rolled less than this on percentile dice, I would succeed in my task.
I continued to write down my stats based off the Novim race. One of these is determining which Ark I came from. The Novims were genetically engineered as a slave race that escaped from their masters in Arks. Members of each Ark generated certain tendencies that would be beneficial to the character. Gax came from the Anthem Ark which gave him the ability to heal 3 BP (body points) per day instead of 1 with no scarring.
The character creation process has you select a personality such as a moral code and descriptors. If you role-played within your character’s personality, you could earn additional developmental points (DP) for the session. For the moral code I selected Honorable (Very) and for the two descriptors I selected “I do the job I was paid for” and for the second one I rolled for a random one from the list provided and got “Delusional belief in the supernatural”. I wonder how a member of a cloned race got that one.
For equipment, luckily there is a standard equipment pack and this counts towards two of my six items granted to me durring the character creation process. I also selected a Security Ballistic suit, an enviro suit, a monoknife and an auto-pistol. I filled in the items and tallied up my character’s body points, melee damage bonus, ranged damage bonus, movement and initiative. I only earned one destiny point that I could use durring the game to change a result. Here is the final character sheet which I believe I filled out correctly.
This system looks pretty simple and quick to pick up. It’s been a while since I’ve read the entire book, but just going through the character creation process was pretty straight forward. It also looks like the system is set up to be used in a sandbox for homebrewers. I just wish the company could come out with additional supplements to flesh out some other ideas. I could see myself playing this RPG.
I found a couple more blogs with people participating in the Character Creation Challenge. I’ve added the links to the page. I would also like to give a big thank you to the visitor who clicked on one of my DriveThruRPG links and purchased a lot of games. I get a little kick back from this that will be used to purchase additional games for future reviews.
The Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game is a very good retro-clone which combines elements of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 and Old-School editions into a rules-lite system. A PDF copy of the rules and supplements can be downloaded for free on the Basic Fantasy website (which also contains a very active community of content creators) or for the low cost of $5.00 on Amazon (which is where I picked up the book seen in the photo above).
I haven’t done any long campaigns with BFRPG, but I did use it to teach a niece and nephew how to play when they were interested in learning about role-playing games. It must have worked because at least one of them joined a local gaming club at his school. I’ve also heard of other groups using the low cost as a way to provide RPG materials to their members. I do know that when I see the creativity on the BFRPG Message Boards, it makes me want to be creative as well.
This character is going to be completely random going in. I’m not going to decide on a race or class until I’ve rolled the attributes. Doing the straight 3d6 method the following attributes were created. Strength: 11, Intelligence: 9, Wisdom: 12, Dexterity: 14, Constitution: 15, Charisma: 10. With stats like this, I’ll run with a Halfling Thief. I filled in my abilities, languages, savings throws and other statistics. I ended up rolling 120 gold pieces for his starting money and I equipped the character.
Character creation was quick and simple. Especially since the character sheet pointed towards the page numbers needed to fill in the details. I had never really created a Halfling character before so I had to look up some name generators online.
Ponto Greenbottle is a young Halfling that was bored in his farming community which often got him into trouble. One day a roving band of Goblins attacked the farming community were Ponto lived taking the Halflings for an easy target. Ponto and the community members were able to hold the raiding party at bay long enough for a band of adventurers to ride in and drive the Goblins off. One of the rescuers was a Halfling who recognized Ponto’s abilities and secretly gifted him a set of thieves tools to practice with. Realizing that he also wanted to be an adventurer, Ponto quietly gathered the equipment he would need to be to survive in the wilds. Just after he turned 20, Ponto quietly slipped out of his village vowing to seek his fortune.
Here is the character sheet.
Basic Fantasy RPG is just that, which is a very good thing. An old school game for anyone who wishes to play. The rules are easily accessible and quick to learn. The armor class scale is better going up than down. Races and classes are separated which I liked. There is only one rulebook, but many minor supplements. This allowed DMs to customize their game by stating: “Use what’s in the rulebook and add items from the following supplements, Druids, Barbarians, 0-level spells and the Equipment Emporium.” More supplements are in development by the BFRPG community on the community message board.
I thought I had set up the blog to accept comments on posts. Apparently I messed something up and comments are currently not allowed on the new blog. I am trying to see if I can get this issue resolved.
Several more blogs of players who are participating in the Character Creation Challenge have been added to the main page. I am still looking for other blogs and message boards.
While I was growing up, all of my gaming buddies had Dungeons and Dragons books because that is what we primarily played. However a few games showed up in my friend’s collections such as Top Secret or Star Frontiers. I’m not certain why we never played these games. I know I looked through their books when I had the chance, but we were content to swinging swords and slinging spells. A few years ago at a gaming convention swap meet I was able to pick up a boxed set of the first Top Secret game and it has been sitting on my game shelf asking to be opened and played. While I may not have any games right now, I figured for the Character Creation Challenge, I would pretend that it’s the 80’s and my friends are making characters for our first espionage campaign.
For the first two entries in this challenge (Basic Dungeons and Dragons and Star Trek The Role Playing Game) I went into a lot of detail as I was creating the character. For this entry I’m going to read the rules and follow them in the character creation process. If anything odd or unusual stands out, I’ll note it in this entry. This should hopefully shorten the time in creating the blog post. But as you’ve probably noticed, I tend to ramble.
I’m going to be creating secret agent Gary King (bonus points if you can tell me what movie that name came from) a newly promoted spy for UNITY. In 1967, UNITY suffered some major losses resulting in a large number of field agents being killed. While the perpetrators were thwarted, new operatives were needed to replenish the ranks. Gary King (and other characters I’ll create in future Character Creation Challenges) are the new crop of agents being sent out on assignment. This scenario was inspired by the No One Lives Forever series of video games.
So it looks like this game uses a percentile system. The how to use the dice introduction seemed a little overboard, but probably assumes that players in the 80’s had mostly 20-sided die instead of two 10-siders. The primary personal traits are Physical Strength, Charm, Willpower, Courage, Knowledge and Coordination. To make the characters heroic enough for a spy game, there is a chart that adds a bonus to low rolls. No character will have a primary trait lower than 26. There are also a set of secondary traits that are determined by the primary traits. These secondary traits are Offense, Deception, Evasion Deactivation, Movement Value and Life Level. There is even a pair of tertiary personal traits for Hand-to-Hand Combat Value and a Surprise Value. These are generated by a combination of primary and secondary traits. The RAW do not tell me if I roll the stats in order or just roll them and then pick which trait they go to. So I’ll roll them in order and take what comes up.
The final results for traits are as follows. Primary- Physical Strength: 95, Charm: 64, Willpower: 88, Courage: 72, Knowledge 79, Coordination: 78. Secondary- Offense: 75, Deception: 68, Evasion: 71, Deactivation: 79, Movement Value: 261, Life Level: 18. Tertiary- Hand-to-Hand: 166, Surprise: 139.
I’ve got the opportunity to roll some of the ‘flesh out’ characteristics. This is what I rolled or elected. 32 year old Caucasian male from England, Height: 5’11”, Weight: 180 lbs, Right-handed who does not need glasses. Known languages include English (native): 85, Czech: 78, Polish: 76, Russian: 49 and German: 40. I selected these languages because I decided that Agent King would be a specialist in Warsaw Pact countries, specifically Eastern Europe.
Areas of Knowledge (randomly rolled) include Military Science/Weaponry: 119, Social Sciences: 82, Physics: 102, Economics/Finance: 123, Architecture: 87, Engineering-Aeronautical: 117, Photography: 86, Metallurgy: 100.
So the Bureau Classification sounds like the classes in D&D. There are three of them, Investigation, Confiscation and Assassination. There are levels, designations and experience points necessary. But no description of how these classifications come into game play. You can only select one (no multi-classing) and if you move from one bureau to another you drop back down to 1st level?!? Other than the number of experience points needed to move up in level, I don’t see any difference in the three bureaus. So I selected Investigation. It seems like a section of the rules are missing from this area. I don’t have any erratas so I’m wondering if I’m missing something.
Next I equipped Agent King. RAW states that your character has your clothes and $400 to spend on equipment. In the rule book the cheapest handgun (a mainstay for most spies seen in movies and television) is $265. So I purchased it and a few other basic items I figured that an agent would need with the money left over. The rule book kind of dumps you from the character creation section into the sparsely detailed equipment section. Had I been running a Top Secret game I could see myself making a few house rules and homebrew additions to the game. There are sections on the character sheet that were for additional items like residence, cover, history, friends, contact, enemies, etc. Since there were no details in the rule book I assume it would have had to be worked out between the player and the administrator. Here is the mostly filled out two-sided character sheet.
I wonder how the gameplay was for this system. With how the character creation rules were documented, I’m sure there were some areas that were covered by the Administrator rulings. But a lot of the earlier TSR games were this way, which was both good and bad.
The blog entry is still a little long, but I think this entry was a little bit smoother than yesterday’s.
I’m still getting a lot of feedback from players uploading their own character submissions. And the question of, what should I do if I didn’t start on the first. Some have told me they plan to post more than one character to catch up. Others have decided to just start now and continue with the fun. A few more links have been added to the Character Creation Challenge page. If you know of any more message boards or blogs, please let me know at Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com.
Star Trek: The Role Playing Game (note the space between role and playing in the name) by FASA was one of the first non-D&D games that I had the opportunity to play. I was introduced to the game at the tail end of it’s run by some friends in high school and I remember eagerly awaiting the latest release of the new books and supplements. Besides my Father’s introduction to Star Trek, the FASA game was one of the biggest influences in my Star Trek fandom. References from the FASA game continue to show up including season two of Star Trek: Discovery and the IDW Star Trek comics in 2020.
The FASA Star Trek Role Playing Game is based on a percentile (D100) system. I liked this type of statistics for a game based off of a franchise because another thing fans like to do is compare characters on the show (or even with other shows). While a lot of D&D characters could have a Strength of 16, it didn’t help much with the comparison side of the coin. Now if character A had a Strength of 55 and another had a Strength of 60, that would be close, but distinguished.
I decided to make a Human security officer named Lt. Bryant Wilson who will be serving in Starfleet during the time portrayed in the Original Series. While FASA had supplements that moved the game into the Star Trek Movies and the early days of The Next Generation, the primary focus was the Original Series with Kirk and Spock.
For the first five attributes of Strength, Endurance, Intelligence, Dexterity and Charisma, the player rolls 3d10 and adds 40 to the roll. The last two attributes, Luck and Psionic Potential, it was a straight percentile roll (D100). For Lt. Wilson I rolled the following stats. STR: 60 (rolled a 10+6+4). END: 60 (10+9+1), INT: 48 (3+3+2), DEX: 62 (10+7+5), CHA: 58 (10+5+3), LUC: 93 (whoa 93 on a percentile roll), PSI: 61 (again a percentile roll). The only racial modifiers for Humans is -30 to PSI which lowered this score to 31. In the RAW you roll another D100 and divide by two (rounding down). This roll was 23, which resulted in 11 bonus points. PSI cannot be increased and I am now allowed to put more than 30 in one attribute (no issue there). Most of my rolls were pretty good so I elected to put 5 points into STR and 4 points into END to help with his stats as a security officer (which brought both attributes up to 65 and 64) and the remaining 2 points going into INT (raising it to 50).
The next step was to pick my pre-academy skills. The number of points allowed was Lt. Wilson’s INT score divided by 10 and rounding down. So a total of 5. There were two categories to select from, Educational and Personal Development. I elected to put 3 points in General Medicine-First Aid (I figured he had to help in some capacity while growing up which may have led to his decision to join security) for Educational. From Personal Development I put 2 points into Streetwise. He had grown up living in a large North American city on the east coast. I randomly selected Baltimore.
At Starfleet Academy there were several skills that were learned as part of the curriculum in order to make a well rounded officer. I won’t list them all since they are in the rules, but I’ve added them to the character sheet. There were a few that I had to select the sub-skills. I selected Language-Orion, Life Sciences-Botany, Physical Sciences-Chemistry, Planetary Sciences-Meteorology, Space Sciences-Astrogation and Space Sciences-Astrophysics. I can select five outside electives at a rating of 10 each. Of these I selected Marksmanship-Archaic Weapon (Archery), Shuttlecraft Pilot, Negotiation/Diplomacy, Sports-Swimming and I added to my Streetwise (now up to 12). In my Advanced Study I get to add stats to the skills I already know. The number of stats I can improve is my INT score (50) divided by 10 (5) and add 5 which means I can roll a 1d10 and add that score to the skills I already know. I elected to add to Marksmanship Modern (rolled a 9, bumping this up to 29), Archery (+1 to 11), Negotiation/Diplomacy (+6 to 16), Computer Operation (+6 to 26), First Aid (+3 to 16), Zero-G Operations (+9 to 19), Federation Law (+7 to 22), Personal Weapons Technology (+10 (nice) to 15), Environmental Suit Operation (+1 to 11) and Personal Combat Unarmed (+4 to 24). I was done with the Academy Skills section.
Now onto the Branch School Skills. Luckily for the Security Branch School curriculum, it was pretty straight forward. Some new skills were added (such as Small Unit Tactics) and several had significant increases (+20 to Marksmanship, Modern) I added these skill points to my character sheet. There were two Outside Electives (any skill gets a 1d10) which I put into Carousing (rolled a 5) and Vehicle Operation-Hovercraft (rolled another 5). There was another round of Advanced Training. I could add a 1d10 to five skills I already knew. The Hovercraft skill got 6 (new total 11), Marksmanship Modern got 9 (new total 58), Small Unit Tactics got a 2 (new total 22), Damage Control Procedures got a 4 (new total 14) and Swimming got a 6 (new total 16). With that the Branch School was done.
Next was Bryant Wilson’s cadet cruise. It was a simple D100 roll with some modifiers for INT and LUC added (or subtracted). I rolled a 25 on the dice. My INT score didn’t alter anything, but since my luck was over 70, I took away 10 from the roll for a final of 15. This was exactly what was needed for a cadet cruise within the Exploration Command on a Constitution class starship. That high LUC really helped out. I marked that on my character sheet. The results of the cadet cruise was another D100 with additional modifiers. I rolled a 71, subtracted 20 for the cruise being on a Constitution Class and subtracted another 10 for the high LUC score for a grand total of 41. This resulted in Bryant Wilson passing his cadet cruise and earning the rank of Ensign. When I saw these results, I decided that Ensign Wilson had taken his cadet cruise on the USS Kongo.
After the cadet cruise, Ensign Wilson was sent to Department Head School which resulted in three things. Several new skills were added/gained (Administration, Computer Operation and Leadership), more Advanced Training. Five skills already known get a 1d10 advancement. These were Negotiation/Diplomacy got a 7 (new total 23), Small Unit Tactics got a 9 (new total 31), Marksmanship-Modern got a 4 (new total 62), Carousing got a 4 (new total 9) and Personal Combat Unarmed got a 5 (new total 49). The last thing earned was a rank advancement to Lieutenant (j.g.).
Next the RAW has Lt. (j.g.) Bryant Wilson going to Command Schools (there are a lot of schools in this game). I can select five skills and take the points listed. Well Starship Combat Strategy Tactics is a huge gain (40 points), Negotiation/Diplomacy is nice (another 10 for a total of 33), 10 more to Leadership (new total 40), Federation Law gets 10 (new total 37) and Federation Culture/History gets 5 (new total 20). Lt. (j.g.) Wilson has now been promoted to Lieutenant.
Now we get to determine the number of tours served. The eventual end goal is to make the character the Chief of Security on a starship. I was instructed to roll a 1d10 and divide by 2 (rounding down). The roll was a 7 resulting in three tours. My high LUC once again came in handing reducing the number of tours by 1. I needed to reach the rank of Lieutenant, so I didn’t need to add a tour for that requirement. However I need to add a tour for becoming a Department Head. The final total of tours needed would be three. If the game was going to be be held on a Constitution-class starship, there would have been one additional tour added. All the tours are determined by a D100 roll with modifiers.
The first tour rolled a 73, high LUC reduced this by 10 to 63. Wilson would be serving in the Merchant Marine Command (I decided he was serving onboard a Starfleet operated freighter known as the USS Whitlock). He must have done a good job because he ha a total Officer Efficiency Report of 15 (25 roll -10 for high LUC) which gave a rating of Excellent. The tour lasted 1 year (1d10 roll resulted in a 2, divided by 2 to get the one year) For serving in the Merchant Marines, I was able to add a 1d10 to either Carousing or Streetwise. I rolled a 4 that was added to Carousing (new total 13).
For the second tour I rolled another D100 and consulted the Tour Assignment Table. My Excellent rating gave me a -10 and my high LUC gave me another -10, so I rolled on the table for -10 to -20 (this way was set up that poor performances would not be rewarded with plumb assignments such as the coveted Constitution-class starships). I rolled a 42 (hey the answer to life, the universe and everything) which resulted in a tour within the Military Operations Command. I decided that Wilson was transferred to the USS Joan of Arc, a Larson class-destroyer. The tour lasted 3 years (1d10 roll resulted in a 7, divided by 2 and rounded down). For an Officer Efficiency Rating I rolled 41, modified by the high LUC to 31 resulting in As Expected.
The third tour rolled an 06 (Wow!) which consulting the table resulted in an assignment to a Constitution-class starship. That’s a feather in the cap for Wilson as he got to serve on the USS Constitution for three years (length roll on a 1d10 was a 7). There he earned an Officer Efficiency Rating of Excellent (roll of 35 minus 10 for the high LUC resulting in an OER of 25). This excellent rating is what probably got him noticed for his in-game assignment as the Chief of Security on the USS El Cid, an Anton-class cruiser.
Now these tours resulted in several skill increases. We already mentioned the Carousing from the Merchant Marine tour listed above. There was a total of seven years in service so one additional 1d10 can be added to skills already known for each two years (3 rolls total). Since at least two years was spent on a Constitution-Class, that adds another roll. High LUC scores again adding two additional rolls. So for the six rolls in total I added the following. Leadership gets a 10 (for a new total of 50). Small Unit Tactics gets a 3 (new total 34). Personal Combat Unarmed gets a 3 (new total 52), Security Procedures gets an 8 (new total 48). Zero-G Operations gets a 2 (new total 21) and Marksmanship-Modern gets a 9 (new total 71).
Lt. Wilson’s age is 33. He was 18 when we started the academy which took 4 years to complete. Half a year for the cadet cruise. 1.5 years for the branch school. A year each for department head school and command school and the three tours took 7 years.
Max Operating Endurance and Current Operating Endurance equals the END score. The Wound Heal Rate for Wilson is a 3 (END divided by 20, rounded down) and the Fatigue Heal Rate is 6 (END divided by 10, rounded down). Action Points came up as a 10 (DEX divided by 10, rounded down then add 4). The To-Hit Mod score is the average of the DEX score with the skill of Modern Marksmanship (62 added to 71 divided by 2 and rounded up = 67). To-Hit HTH (Hand to Hand) score is the average of the DEX (62) score with the skill of Personal Combat-Unarmed (52) which resulted in 57. Bare-hand damage is 1d10+3 due to his STR score of 65. Here is the final character:
While discussing character creation for Star Trek Adventures, a friend stated that he preferred it over FASAs +5 to a skill here and +5 to a skill there. The FASA system was a little bit longer, but I felt that I could see the character forming before my eyes. Character creation would definitely have to be a session zero meeting between players and game master. If I was the GM for new players I’d also give them a little bit of leeway to go back and change some skills. In hindsight I should have given Lt. Wilson a skill in armed combat with sword or some unique weapon. I also like the Trivia catch all skill (even thought I didn’t use it on Wilson).
I also don’t know if I’m going to go into so much creation details on future entries. I need to pace myself if I’m going to make it through the 31 day challenge. I just get inspired to start typing and next thing I know I’m just continuing to type.
I’ve decided to start adding links to other blogs and message boards where players are participating in the Character Creation Challenge. I’ve had people ask if they can still participate if they didn’t start on January 1st. The answer yes, just pick up from today and move forward. If I don’t have your location linked, send me the URL. For social media (twitter, facebook, etc.) just use the hashtag of #CharacterCreationChallenge. I can’t link all social media sites, but I know they are coming up under that hashtag.
Since the BECMI edition was the first RPG that I had purchased, I selected that as my final choice. I may still make a B/X or Blueholme characters in the future depending on how the month progresses. So without further ado, let me introduce you to Vaaltin the Elf, Wanderer of the Realms.
Most of you know the basic rules for a D20 type system. So I won’t go too deep into detail. I rolled 3d6 for my abilities. The strength roll was 6+4+2 for a total of 12. Intelligence was 6+6+5 (wow) for a total of 17. Wisdom was 5+5+3 for 13. Dexterity was 5+3+3 for a total of 11. Constitution didn’t fare too well with a 4+3+2 for a total of 9, but I guess it could have been worse. And finally the Charisma roll was a 5+4+2 for a total of 11. I wish the Constitution was higher to gain additional hit points, but I’ll take it. Since the rules-as-written (RAW) allow for adjustments to the prime requisites (for the elf it is Strength and Intelligence), I elected to take two points from Charisma (making it a 9) to add to Strength (bumping it up to 13). [Edited this section to correct some bad math. Thanks for the feedback]
I wrote down my special abilities for being an Elf. Infravision at 60 feet. A special ability to see secret doors and an immunity to paralysis from ghouls. I also wrote down the standard languages known by Elves. Common, Elvish, Gnoll, Hobgoblin and Orc. Next I added the savings throws. Poison or Death Ray gets a 12, Magic Wand gets a 13, Turn to Stone or Paralysis gets a 13 as well, Dragon Breath has a 15 and I wrote down 15 for Spells or Magic Staff. Wow I had forgotten how clunky the original savings throws were set up.
I added my adjustments for my good ability scores. Thus Strength and Wisdom both have +1 adjustments but that good roll for Intelligence netted a +2. Since there was no adjustment from my Constitution, I rolled my Hit Points and lucked out with a six. As an Elf Veteran-Medium (i.e. 1st level) I knew one spell. Since my Dexterity didn’t give any added adjustments for ranged combat, I selected Magic Missile for my first spell. The second spell in my characters book is Detect Magic.
Money, money, money. I rolled the 3d6 x 10 for my starting gold which came up as 5+3+3 x 10 for a total of 110 GP. I then pulled out the equipment list and outfitted Vaaltin for his first adventure. Not having a lot of money, but wanting protection I picked up a suit of chainmail and a shield. This would give me an Armor Class rating of 4. A sword and short bow would make up the character’s weaponry. In a backpack, the elf has a week’s worth of rations, 50′ of rope, a tinderbox, six torches, a wineskin and a large sack to put treasure in. The final sheet look liked this.
So why is Vaaltin out exploring? He was the member of a minor house within one of the Elf kingdoms. Vaaltin’s father saw how bored he had become after reaching the mature age for adventuring. The other siblings within the family were not as much of a troublemaker that Vaalin was, but his father had a need for all of them to fulfill. He gave them all a task to go out into the world and find a powerful weapon or artifact that would increase the standing of their minor house. Within the laws of their land, the father could declare his children as “wanderers”. This would allow them to complete a quest or other important task for the family instead of serving in the armed forces of the kingdom. Vaaltin was suspicious of his father’s request and wondered if his siblings would blame him for the task they had been given. But he decided he didn’t care since they were all being sent to the different corners of the map. Instead of occasionally fighting intruders that came into the kingdom, he could make a name for himself out in the world before returning home. He was provided with some basic equipment and set off out on his adventure.
I forgot how the original book was designed to introduce new players to the game. I was jumping through several pages trying to confirm that I had the correct information and was following the proper procedure. I can see why TSR cleaned this up a little bit for the Rules Cyclopedia. But I wanted to create the character using the RAW. Creating this character I was remembering some of the excitement when I was writing in the stats and equipment. The background I came up with while making the character. I almost wish there was a game starting so I could play this character.
I’ve already had several people contact me with their entries into the #CharacterCreationChallenge. Thank you. I’ll be posting some links soon. If you are just reading about this, you can still get involved. Just grab a system you would like to create a character for, make it as per the rules listed and then post the character online. Us the hashtag or email me (Carl (at) TardisCaptain.com) so we can find it online.
Part of the reason I put this website together was to give a home to some of the creative works I’ve put together. While I don’t have a novel to release (yet), I have created some items including some home-brew stats for various role-playing games.
For the Star Trek Starship Tactical Combat Simulator by FASA, they created a Starship Construction Manual. This book contained charts and rules to create Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Gorn and Orion starships. I used this book in the 90’s for quite a few creations. Usually my targets were the various starships seen in different fan made technical-manuals and blueprints. The ships had already been designed and contained enough statistics to convert into game statistics. I would then type of the stats, photocopy the image of the ship and quite literally cut-and-paste. I was able to make one look really fancy (Belknap), but most were just the text and an image of the ship.
I had made a master book of starships for the game. I had copied all of the ships from the various manuals, modules, magazine articles and fanzines and placed them into a three-ring binder alongside my own creations. As you can imagine, this book became quite thick. Luckily I was able to keep this book through all of my moves and I recently pulled it out of a storage box. I selected three creations at random and scanned them into the PDF format. If I had enough background details, I would include it with the statistics. Since this was the time before Google, I didn’t know the reason behind some of the class names.
I didn’t have any construction stats for the Tholian and Kzinti races, but that didn’t stop me from at least attempting to create game statistics for them. I never had the chance to play test them, but I’ll be presenting them on this site. So for the first three samples I have selected the Belknap Class Strike Cruiser, The Klingon D-15 K’Teremny Class Cruiser and the Kzinti TC-1 Police Cruiser. I may re-write some of these with the computer tools available now, but until then I’ll be presenting them in the format I originally saved them in. Enjoy.
Today two things happened that made the season better. I received an unexpected surprise and I had the chance to give to a good charity.
If you recall from an earlier blog post, I talked about The Power of Gaming and how gamers on the RPG.net forums have been helping each other out by participating in a “Secret Satan” (a play on the Secret Santa name) gift exchange. Well apparently the copy of Mutant Crawl Classics wasn’t the only gift coming my way. A package arrived in the mail containing the two books shown in the photo above. The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide and The Ultimate RPG Gameplay Guide both by James D’Amato. Also included in the package was a note that my “Secret Satan” had picked up extra copies of these books in anticipation of gifting to an RPGnetter and that there were two packages coming. Thank you for these gifts. One of my geek kids has already flipped through one of the books and was impressed by what she quickly saw. I plan to read through these books and I’ll write up a review for a future blog post.
Actress Crystal Allen has been in many different shows including Supernatural, Boston Legal, Star Trek Of Gods and Men (a fan film) and Star Trek: Enterprise. The photo above is her as the Orion Slave girl D’nesh. She has been doing something that I think is really wonderful. She has been making home-made meals for medical personnel, firefighters and first responders who have been serving us during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently she is running a GoFundMe page to raise $2,000 to cook healthy meals for these frontline warriors for the holidays. She’s even willing to send an autograph to supporters. I would have picked up her autograph at a convention anyway, but donating to a good charity inspired me to jump at this opportunity. If you are so inspired, click on the link and see if you can help Crystal reach her goal.
So the gears in my mind started churning last month and it came up with the Character Creation Challenge. I am so looking forward to this event. However I don’t want to jump in without being prepared. So I’ve been making sure that all of my books are where I can get to them (there are still a few I’m trying to unpack out of boxes). I have my dice bag in my desk. I even created a spreadsheet for each date in January (with the day of the week) and a tentative game scheduled for each day. This way I could spread out the games (so I wasn’t doing D&D 3.5 one day then D&D 4th edition the next. But I could schedule the games I’m familiar with on busier days and games I’ve never created a character for on weekends. I’ll probably be still adjusting the schedule if flexibility is needed.
Just recently I created my first couple of characters for an upcoming Star Trek Adventures campaign that I’ll be playing in. I won’t do a review of the game now, but I’m really glad I did a trial run before creating a character for the #CharacterCreationChallenge. Now I’m debating if I should do trial runs for some of the other games I’ve never created characters for or if I should just go in cold. About 2/3rds of the games I’ve got listed on my spreadsheet I’ve created characters prior (or it’s generic enough like the D20 system that I have a good idea what to do). This is another internal debate I’ll be having up until January 1st. It will be interesting to see how this Character Creation Challenge unfolds.
Today I experience the power of gaming from multiple sources. And as readers of my blog know, I get excited by the power of creativity.
The picture you see above is the latest role-playing game that has been added to my collection. It was sent to me by another gamer that I don’t even know. On the RPG.net gaming forums gamers put together a “Secret Satan” (a play on words of Secret Santa) gift exchange program to try to brighten someone’s day. And believe me, with the way 2020 has gone, we could use all of the brighter days that we can get. I was amazed at how many people responded to the forum post wanting to participate. This surge of goodwill excited me and I signed up. I was assigned a “victim” and given enough details to send them a gift with a cap of $40 to spend. Luckily my “victim” had done some research and provided some Amazon links to possible gift ideas. One of these was selected and the gift was sent. I may have messed up because I let my “victim” know who I was (I thought that gifts sent via Amazon had the sender’s name attached). But it resulted in a nice thank you note for the game that was delivered.
I had also provided a list of possible gift ideas. Mutant Crawl Classics by Goodman Games was one of the items on my list. I had recently purchased the Dungeon Crawl Classics in PDF format from a Humble Bundle sale and I had been pretty impressed with the quality of the work put into the game. So I thought that the companion game, MCC, would be an interesting read. A delivery from Amazon was made today and the excitement of not knowing what was in the box added to the thrill of seeing MCC when the box was opened. There were cheaper games on the list so my “Secret Satan” went the extra mile to make this holiday a special one. (tips hat) To my “Secret Satan”, I thank you. I hope you had just as much fun with your gift (what ever it was) as I did with mine. I also want to give a shout out to the organizers at RPG.net who put this together. This is where I felt one of the surges of energy today.
The second surge of energy came from the Mutant Crawl Classics book itself. It did remind me of when I read the Dungeon Crawl Classics rules on PDF, but there was something more about this game. I couldn’t understand it for a moment until I realized that I was physically holding a brand new RPG book in my hand. The new book smell and feel was there. When I opened it up, I could feel the energy coming from the creativity (both writing and artwork) contained inside. I really want to play an MCC game now. Thank you Goodman Games for your work on this.
Until I get a chance to actually play, I will be adding Mutant Crawl Classics to my list of games for the Character Creation Challenge coming up this January. This way I will have fun creating a character and learning some of the rules in the process.